A New Jersey district court has dismissed an FDCPA claim which alleged a debt collection complaint was misleading because the collection attorneys were not meaningfully involved in its preparation.Lopez v. Law Offices of Faloni & Assocs., LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124730 (D.N.J. Sept. 14, 2016).In Lopez, the consumer alleged that the collection firm violated 15 U.S.C. §§1692e and f by filing the complaint “without first having an attorney individually review the file, make the appropriate inquiry and exercise professional judgment.”Lopez at *8.In support of her claim, the consumer further alleged that the collection firm filed 198 complaints on the same day that it filed its complaint against her.The consumer also pointed to the fact that the collection complaint contained a discrepancy in the amount owed, alleging in one paragraph that a balance of $1,000.48 was owed and in another that a balance of $1010.48 was owed.
The collection firm moved to dismiss and asserted in that the complaint did not state a plausible claim for violation of the FDCPA.The court agreed, noting that the complaint did not include allegations as to: (a) the number of attorneys employed by the collection firm; (b) the number of attorneys who actually reviewed the complaint; or (c) over what period of time the collection complaint was drafted and reviewed.Id. at *9.“Without these details, Plaintiff’s allegations regarding attorney involvement are speculative and do not support a plausible claim for violation of the FDCPA based on a lack of meaningful attorney involvement.” Id.
The decision continues a string of decisions in New Jersey refusing to extend the district’s holding in Bock v. Pressler & Pressler, 30 F. Supp. 3d 283 (D.N.J. 2014) which has been remanded to the district court for further proceedings as to whether the consumer has standing.See also Morales v. Pressler & Pressler, 2015 U.S. Dis. LEXIS 49928 (Apr. 16, 2015 D.N.J.); Barata v. Nudelman, Klemm & Golub, P.C., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20280 (Feb. 19, 2015 D.N.J.).